Day 46 | mile 799.7 - 823.2

I didn’t get eaten by a bear last night! Yay! Padded out to the bear box to get my food. I walked in just my socks because my shoes are still wet.

Oatmeal with Perfect bar for breakfast. I’m pulling out all the stops today because it’s the hardest day on the trail yet. I’m attempting to do 2 passes in one day again. Only these are harder.

Hiking by 5:50. Potable left before me. Passed a guy at a creek. He later spotted me for a creek crossing and I found out his name is Peter. Passed Potable after a bit.

I was cruising. I think it might have something to do with having a real dinner the night before. I had one of those backpacker meals - lasagna. It’s meant for 2 servings but I ate the whole thing. I think that gave me some good energy today.

Pinchot Pass was first. I climbed from 8,500 ft to 12,100 ft over 7 miles. There was a lot of trail finding on the south side of the pass. Lots of snow and no one to follow. Finally made it up at 10, I think. Took a picture and started trekking down.

I promised myself I would stop for lunch today, so I started negotiating a break spot. It kept getting pushed further and further out. I wanted to dry out my socks a bit, so I looked for a spot after all the major stream crossings. The one that killed that woman on the PCT last year was the last before Mather Pass, but it didn’t feel right to stop there. I stopped at the next one. Had a bagel and cream cheese. Did a bit of laundry.

I was expecting Peter and Potable to catch up to me. But no one came. I left to start Mather at 2:30. I cached Marshal Mathers LP album for this occasion. It was perfect.

There was a lot of trail finding on this at the beginning of this pass also. I saw some people in the distance slowly catching up to me because they weren't doing any trail finding. They were just following me! And whatever mistakes I made, they made too. Finally, I found the trail of switchbacks and it was easy from there.

Peter was trying to catch up with me through the switchbacks but I still got there first. I realized I was missing the tip of one of my poles once I was at the top. Such a bummer.

The way down was long and posthole-central. Bleh. At one point my leg was so hopeless stuck that I had to leave my shoe behind to pull it out, then dig my shoe out.

Once the snow cleared it was a lot more pleasant. Peter stayed at the first campsite. I wanted to get closer to Muir Pass so I pushed on. I also saw Gary and Logan at that campsite! They were there when Alex surprised me on the trail. They recognized me instantly! Also, Gary's shins were bleeding pretty bad from postholing.

The evening walk was delightful. There was no one on the trail and it was amazing scenery. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. It was really neat to follow Palisade Creek from where it was fed with snowmelt, to this lake, and down to the waterfall into the valley below. So so beautiful. (These pictures don't do it any justice.)

Camped with a guy who is doing the PCT with a horse! And Potable is also here. The horse guy and his sidekick had a fire going. It was lovely to sit around.

P.S. There were many stream crossings today. One of them was a straight up river ford - Kings River. So scary. On one crossing I used a bad strategy to cross. I ended up almost knocking myself out by catching my face on a rock. My nose was bleeding. So stupid. It’s fine now. Just some scratches.